Check Point Research has found sharp increase in the Emotet botnet spreading spam campaigns after period of inactivity, aiming to steal banking credentials, and spread inside targeted networks.
Check Point Research, the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd., a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, has published its latest Global Threat Index for July 2020.
Researchers found that after a five-month absence, Emotet has surged back to 1st place in the Index, impacting 5% of organizations globally.
Since February 2020, Emotet’s activities – primarily sending waves of malspam campaigns – started to slow down and eventually stopped, until re-emerging in July. This pattern was observed in 2019 when the Emotet botnet ceased activity during the summer months but resumed in September.
In July, Emotet was spreading malspam campaigns, infecting its victims with TrickBot and Qbot, which are used to steal banking credentials and spread inside networks. Some of the malspam campaigns contained malicious doc file with names like “form.doc” or “invoice.doc”.
According to researchers, the malicious document launches a PowerShell to pull the Emotet binary from remote websites and infect machines, adding them to the botnet.
The resumption of Emotet’s activities highlights the scale and power of the botnet globally.
“It’s interesting that Emotet was dormant for several months earlier this year, repeating a pattern we first observed in 2019. We can assume that the developers behind the botnet were updating its features and capabilities. But as it is active again, organizations should educate employees about how to identify the types of malspam that carry these threats and warn about the risks of opening email attachments or clicking on links from external sources. Businesses should also look at deploying anti-malware solutions that can prevent such content reaching end-users,” said Maya Horowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence & Research, Products at Check Point.
The research team also warns that “MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution” is the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 44% of organizations globally, followed by “OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure” which impacts 42% of organizations worldwide. “Command Injection Over HTTP Payload” is in third place, with a global impact of 38%.
Top malware families
(The arrows relate to the change in rank compared to the previous month).
This month Emotet is the most popular malware with a global impact of 5% of organizations, closely followed by Dridex and Agent Tesla affecting 4% of organizations each.
↑ Emotet– Emotet is an advanced, self-propagating and modular Trojan. Emotet was originally a banking Trojan, but recently is used as a distributor of other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.
↑ Dridex– Dridex is a Trojan that targets the Windows platform and is reportedly downloaded via a spam email attachment. Dridex contacts a remote server and sends information about the infected system. It can also download and execute arbitrary modules received from the remote server.
↓ Agent Tesla – Agent Tesla is an advanced RAT functioning as a keylogger and information stealer capable of monitoring and collecting the victim’s keyboard input, system clipboard, taking screenshots, and exfiltrating credentials belonging to of a variety of software installed on a victim’s machine (including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Outlook email client).
Top exploited vulnerabilities
This month “MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution” is the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 44% of organizations globally, followed by “OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure” which impacts 42% of organizations worldwide. “Command Injection Over HTTP Payload” is in third place, with a global impact of 38%.
↑ MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution– A remote code execution vulnerability that exists in MVPower DVR devices. A remote attacker can exploit this weakness to execute arbitrary code in the affected router via a crafted request.
↓OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure (CVE-2014-0160; CVE-2014-0346) – An information disclosure vulnerability that exists in OpenSSL. The vulnerability is due to an error when handling TLS/DTLS heartbeat packets. An attacker can leverage this vulnerability to disclose memory contents of a connected client or server.
↑ Command Injection Over HTTP Payload – A command injection over HTTP payload vulnerability has been reported. A remote attacker can exploit this issue by sending a specially crafted request to the victim. Successful exploitation would allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target machine.
Top mobile malware families
This month xHelper is the most popular malware, followed by Necro and PreAMo.
xHelper – Amalicious application seen in the wild since March 2019, used for downloading other malicious apps and display advertisements. The application can hide itself from the user, and reinstall itself in case it was uninstalled.
Necro – Necro is an Android Trojan Dropper. It can download other malware, showing intrusive ads and stealing money by charging paid subscriptions.
PreAMo – PreAmo is an Android Malware imitates the user by clicking on banners retrieved from three ad agencies – Presage, Admob, and Mopub.
Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map is powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence, the largest collaborative network to fight cybercrime which delivers threat data and attack trends from a global network of threat sensors.
The ThreatCloud database inspects over 2.5 billion websites and 500 million files daily, and identifies more than 250 million malware activities every day.
Join Inlaks Live TechTalk Edition on Hyosung’s Revolutionary MV 100 ATM Model
Inlaks, the leading Information Technology Systems Integrator specialised in the deployment of highly scalable ICT Infrastructure solutions, will on Monday September 28, deploy the second edition of its virtual thought leadership segment called “TechTalk”.
Techtalk which was formerly a pre-recorded segment hosted on the organisations YouTube channel has now transitioned into a live virtual event across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The virtual edition kicked off in August 2020 with a segment on Financial Crime Mitigation, honing in on the superiority of Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation Solution with Emmanuel Orororo, Sales Manager, Financial Business, Inlaks.
The 2nd edition of Tech Talk promises to offer the same measure of insights as it dives into the world of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) with a focus on MoniValue 100, a revolutionary ATM solution by Hyosung TNS. The MoniValue 100 is especially adapted to the present times as it is a cardless, contactless and changeless solution.
Join this virtual event live by logging on to any of the social media pages below on Monday, 28th September 2020. YouTube: Inlaks, Facebook: InlaksNg, Twitter: Inlaks, Instagram: InlaksNg
Inlaks is a leading system integrator in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company partners with leading OEMs in the technology industry to provide world-class information technology solutions that exceed the needs of its customers.
Over the years, Inlaks has built a reputation as the foremost ICT and Infrastructure Solutions Provider, helping customers effectively seize new market and service opportunities.
With an impressive customer base that includes six Central Banks in West Africa, 18 of the 24 banks in Nigeria and other major customers in the West African region, Inlaks has become the dominant Information Technology Company in Africa.
Inlaks’ customers cut across various segments including Banking, Telecommunication, Oil/Gas, Power, Utilities and the Distribution sectors of the economy. For more information, please visit www.inlaks.com
Millions of Cyber Attacks Launched on Nigeria, Others- Reports
There were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA) detections over a 7-month period in Nigeria, according to Kaspersky security solutions.
Elsewhere in South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections, showing the growing desperation of the attacks.
The company reported on 28 million malware attacks in 2020 and 102 million detections of potentially unwanted programs (pornware, adware etc.) accounted for by the beginning of August 2020.
These numbers show that it’s not only the malware that attacks users but also the “grey zone” programmes that grow in popularity and disturb their experiences, while users might not even know it is there.
Potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) are programmes that are usually not considered to be malicious by themselves.
However, they are generally influencing user experience in a negative way. For instance, adware fills user device with ads; aggressive monetising software propagates unrequested paid offers; downloaders may download even more various applications on the device, sometimes malicious ones.
calculating interim results of threat landscape activity in African countries, Kaspersky researchers noticed that PUAs attack users almost four times more often than traditional malware.
They also eventually reach more users: for instance, while in South Africa, the malware would attack 415,000 users in 7-months of 2020, the figure for PUA would be 736,000.
“The reason why ‘grey zone’ software is growing in popularity is that it is harder to notice at first and that if the programme is detected, its creators won’t be considered to be cybercriminals. The problem with them is that users are not always aware they consented to the installation of such programmes on their device and that in some cases, such programmes are exploited or used as a disguise for malware downloads,” said Denis Parinov, a security researcher at Kaspersky.
By taking a closer look at PUA, it becomes apparent that they are not only more widespread but also more potent than traditional malware.
Evaluating results over the same 7-month period in Nigeria, there were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much.
Kenyan and South African threat landscapes have been more intense. In South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections.
Kenyan users faced even more malware attacks – around 14 million, and 41 million PUA appearances, Kaspersky said.
Tech Giants Strike Deal with Advertisers over Hate Speech
Web giants including Facebook have struck a deal with advertisers on how to identify harmful content such as hate speech, after an impasse over the issue which led to boycotts of the platform.
The agreement — which also included Twitter and YouTube — laid out for the first time a common set of definitions for hateful statements online.
In July, hundreds of advertisers including big-name consumer brands suspended advertising with Facebook as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign, saying the social-media titan should do more to stamp out hatred and misinformation on its platform.
And earlier this month a group of celebrities — including Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry — stopped using Facebook and Instagram for 24 hours, to push a similar message.
The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) said in a statement Wednesday: “Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, in collaboration with marketers and agencies through the Global Alliance for Responsible Media have agreed to adopt a common set of definitions for hate speech and other harmful content and to collaborate with a view to monitoring industry efforts to improve in this critical area.”
The alliance was founded by the WFA and includes other major trade bodies.
According to the WFA, key areas of agreement included applying the alliance’s common definitions of harmful content; developing reporting standards for such content; establishing independent oversight; and rolling out tools for keeping advertisements away from harmful content.
The WFA said that properly defining online hate speech would remove the current problem of different platforms using their own definitions, which it said made it difficult for companies to decide where to put their ads.
“As funders of the online ecosystem, advertisers have a critical role to play in driving positive change and we are pleased to have reached agreement with the platforms on an action plan and timeline in order to make the necessary improvements,” said Stephan Loerke, chief executive of the WFA.
Luis Di Como, executive vice-president of global media at Unilever, a major advertiser, sounded a note of cautious optimism.
He said: “The issues within the online ecosystem are complicated, and whilst change doesn’t happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction.”
Speaking in July, Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he remained adamant that the company did not want hate speech on the social network.
On Wednesday, the company’s vice-president for global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, said the agreement gave all parties “a unified language to move forward on the fight against hate online.”
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